John Thorrington announces retirement

34-year-old veteran joins Major League Soccer Players Union

John Thorrington - warmups - 2013

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USA Today Sports Images

After a 17-year professional career in the United States, Canada, England and Germany, veteran midfielder John Thorrington announced his retirement. The former U.S. Men’s National Team player will now be working with the Major League Soccer Players Union as a Special Assistant to Executive Director Bob Foose while completing his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Northwestern University.

“I'd like to thank my teammates, coaches, and the fans who have made this experience what it was. I feel very blessed to have had the privilege of playing for 17 years, and I could not have done it, nor would I have enjoyed it as much, were it not for their support,” said Thorrington. “Special thanks go to my wife Krista and my family, who have encouraged and inspired me through it all. I am grateful to the MLS Players Union and excited for this opportunity to help continue the development of the league in a new capacity.”

The Black-and-Red selected Thorrington, previously of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, in the second stage of the 2012 MLS Re-Entry Draft. With the club, Thorrington made fourteen regular season appearances (12 starts), recorded 1,052 minutes and one assist, while playing in four U.S. Open Cup games helping to lead the club to the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

“John gave everything he had on every play on every team he ever played for,” said D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen. “It was a pleasure being around him for a short time in DC, and I wish him nothing but the best in his new role at the Players Union.”

“John was an influential leader on and off the field for us last season, and he was a key contributor in helping the club win the 2013 US Open Cup,” said D.C. United General Manager Dave Kasper. “We congratulate him on an outstanding playing career and wish him the best of luck with his future endeavors.”

In 1997, Thorrington became the youngest American player to sign with an English Premier League club when he joined Manchester United FC at 17. The midfielder spent three years with the English giants before departing to Germany and Bayer Leverkusen in 1999. In 2001, Thorrington returned to England to join Huddersfield Town. During a four-year spell with the Yorkshire club, Thorrington netted eight goals and appeared in seventy-five matches. After eight years playing in Europe, Thorrington returned home to the United States and Major League Soccer by joining Chicago Fire in 2005. In six seasons with the Fire, Thorrington collected eight goals and two assists in 59 games (49 starts) and helped the Fire win the 2006 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Thorrington moved to the Vancouver Whitecaps FC during the 2010 MLS Expansion Draft. The midfielder appeared in thirty games (23 starts) and tallied an assist for the club. In nine seasons in MLS, Thorrington made 103 appearances (84 starts), scoring eight goals and assisting on four others while winning two U.S. Open Cups.

On the international stage, the midfielder made the U.S. roster for the 1999 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Nigeria and started three of the Americans’ four matches. In 2000, he made four appearances for the U.S. U-23 Olympic team helping the squad reach the final of the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Thorrington has made four appearances for the U.S. Men’s National Team between 2001 and 2008 and featured in two CONCACAF qualifying matches for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.